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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Roman Civil Wars, 16 Dec. 2008
This review is from: The Roman Army: The Civil Wars 88-31 BC (Battle Orders) (Paperback)
This is the second book in the 'Battle Orders' series by Osprey on the ancient Roman Army. While the first looked at the Punic wars, this one concentrates on the years 88-31 BC: The period between Marius and Sulla, and Antony and Octavian.

The main emphasis of the book though is on the campaigns of Julius Caesar, and the Civil War that broke out following his assassination. The author, Nic Fields, also makes brief mentions of Caesar's Gallic War, especially on the section covering fortifications.

The book sets out to explain the military organisation, arms and equipment, command and control, engineering, strategy, and battle tactics of the period. Full colour maps help illustrate the manouvering of the armies in battles such as Pharsalus, Thapsus and Philippi; while organisation charts explain the deployment of the legion, such as in the cohors and centuria. The book also explains the organisation of the Legions under Caesar, Pompey etc during periods in the Civil War, for instance during the winter of 50 BC, or the summer of 48 BC.

As well as giving you a background to the Civil War, the book also provides short one page biographies of the leading generals of the time such as Quintus Sertorius, Marcus Licinius Crassus, Pompey, Caesar, Antony and so on.

If the book has one flaw, it's in the strategic maps. These seem to be a problem with nearly all Osprey titles (except the Campaign Series). The maps do not give you a good idea of the battlefield terrain, with very little information on the terrain type.

With small flaws like these aside, this is a good (if at times, rather dry) introduction to the Roman Army of the Civil Wars. The addition of many colour phootgraphs (especially those illustrating the soldiers on the Altar of Domitius Ahenobarbus) and the charts and maps are a great addition, while a chronological timeline, glossary, bibliography, and a section on ancient sources and legionary titles help flesh out the book and give you a greater understanding of the period. Recommended!
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